How the Oily Rag Co Evolved From Nuts & Bolts into a Petrolheads Paradise

How the Oily Rag Co Evolved From Nuts & Bolts into a Petrolheads Paradise

Oily and Rag are not the first words you would think of when reading a luxury lifestyle magazine. But the brand Oily Rag Co is making a name for itself in the worlds of Clothing, Custom Motorbikes and Hospitality. Jeremy Webb visited the company to find out more.

The name comes from the pieces of cloth mechanics are constantly using to wipe their hands after working on engines etc. Any piece of old clothing can be classified as a rag and used to wipe the oil from your hands. I commonly use old socks and T-shirts as my rags to wipe up any mess after working on my bikes or garden tools. You will understand why the company got its name as I tell you about its Founder.

Oily Rag Co was an idea in the head of Aerospace Engineer David Sutton, who in his spare time built and restored motorcycles. A passionate biker all his life, David found his job boring and wanted more from life so, he upped sticks and embarked on travelling around California. The idea for his own company manifested, and when he arrived back in England, he got started on his plans.

David started building custom motorcycles whilst working in retail, but he has always had itchy feet and wanted more from life. People began to ask him to make bikes for them, but he put so much passion into builds that he wanted to keep his creations. Being creative, David started drawing graphics for his clothing designs, which led to others inquiring about purchasing the items? Working from a shed used as a warehouse, he started selling his designs, and the business expanded rapidly.

Chilling out in Oily Rag HQ in Gloucester

After selling Oily Rag Co products online, it was time to expand and give people a destination to visit. Oily Rag HQ in Gloucester was born in March 2019 to showcase their products and provide a weekend meeting place for petrol heads of all genres. The company has some bike builds of David’s on display and like to add as many new builds as he can find time to do.

Dave’s partner Lyn Jackson has worked in retail since she left school. It would be rude to say how many years but enough to give Oily Rag Co’s customers the experience and service they require.

I had the pleasure of meeting the Creators of Oily Rag Co. at their HQ in the Cotswolds. Here David and Lyn like to welcome bikers and car enthusiasts of all ages for great coffee at the Oily Bean Coffee bar. Here visitors can view merchandise while enjoying various refreshments or slump on one of the sofas and chat with like-minded people.

Bike Customisation
David is continually buying up bikes to create custom builds, mainly to keep, but some are commissioned pieces. A few notable builds are,

2020 Benelli TNT 125, which is used as the office runabout. David couldn’t just keep the machine stock, so it was off with the wheels for some nice red powder. He fitted a Honda Grom belly pan and a load of billet parts readily available for these bikes. The build is finished with a fancy new paint scheme from the Oily Rag Co paint shop. This little 125 puts a smile on everyone’s faces every time she goes out.

David Sutton with an Oily Rag Co Triumph Scrambler

David slimmed down a standard 1979 Honda CT70 shortened the mudguards, added a custom seat, exhaust and lights. His work makes the build genuinely stand out.

David Sutton with the Oily Rag Co Monkey Bike

Taking old Triumph motorcycles and cutting them up, making great Bobbers is something David has been doing for years. Two 500cc Bobbers have been built, one on display at HQ and the 1967 650cc version below with Lyn beside it.

Lyn Jackson next to a Triumph Bobber motorbike

Primarily Oily Rag Co designs and creates its own branded apparel. The company’s clothing is mainly for casual wear, both for bikers and car lovers. Dave plays a significant part in the graphics that adorn T-shirts, Hoodies, Jackets and much more. I will be reviewing some of their merchandise and using it on motorcycle tests in the coming months.

Man wearing an Oily Rags Co Spark Plugs t-shirt

For riding gear, they sell a selection of brands that produce equipment that fits with the Oily Rag Co vibe and customers. Fuel, Resurgence gear, Red Wing and Black Arrow are a few brands sold through the Oily Rag Co.

Oily Rag Co – Where and How?

Oily Rag hosts events from their HQ, with regular bike nights and car meets. They are based at Unit 9, Rockhaven Ind Est, Triangle Park, Metz Way, Gloucester, GL1 1AJ, open Saturdays 10:00 am – 4 pm, and Sundays 10:00 am – 2.30 pm.

For more information, please visit

Read more motorcycle-based articles, news and reviews here.

The company's converted vintage fire engineHow the Oily Rag Co Evolved From Nuts & Bolts into a Petrolheads Paradise 2


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